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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Zenkai Girl (2011)


Country: Japan
Format: drama in 11 episodes
Genre: romance, life
Cast: Aragaki Yui, Nishikido Ryo, Hirayama Hiroyuki, Yakushimaru Hiroko, Rebutsu Misako, Tani Kanon, Takagi Seira, Reina Asami, Takeushi Riki, Kaito Aiko, Suzuki Ryohei, Arakawa Yoshiyoshi, Minagawa Sarutoki, Aoyama Noriko, Sato Jiro,
Synopsis: Ayukawa Wakaba dreams of becoming an international lawyer. After getting into Samezima Sakuragawa law firm she gets her first assignment: babysitting boss's 5-years old daughter Hinata until the real nanny returns. In Hinata's preschool Wakaba meets a group of solo-dads who are the opposite of her ideal man, especially Yamada Shota, ex-chef who gave up his dreams in order to raise his ex-wife's son (from first marriage).
Rating: 4/5
I was surprised by "Zenkai Girl" as it was on my watch-list for 2 years already and my first opinion on it was not the best. After watching it, as you see, it got 4 stars and I admit that there was only a little missing from the last star.

Ayukawa Wakaba is always aiming to be the 1st - settling for second-rate things is not even an option for her. She was brought up by her mentally poor dad at country side. I like how she knows what she wants from life, but in the end she starts to question herself, I felt that she was so stuck in her ideals that she lost herself with the time. That also makes her rather bitchy to everyone whose status and position is less than hers. In addition, being a bitch is her way of defending herself. As I have said it before it is nice to see Aragaki Yui in a grown up role. For me, Wakaba character got annoying for some minutes because of her attitude, but Aragaki played out so well that it made me bare with it.
At the same time, Yamada Shota is more usual guy, whose kindness is almost unbearable. His dating
register is full of women who are either violent or take total advantage of him. Under covers I may say that he is a man who likes strong mean women, because he knows that they also have some emotional weak moments in their life. His ex-wife Ririka dumped him over foreign dance instructor and flew to America, leaving him with her kid from her first marriage. Shota's and Pitaro's scenes are the most cutest things on earth! I do not know why but they really seemed similar. Of course, I am Ryo biased too, so seeing him with kid was really over the top.
An important thing about him is that he actually used to work in an expensive French restaurant as a cook and he had possibility to reach even further, but he gave up on it to raise Pitaro. Wakaba makes a big deal about it as she disapproves the fact that he did not make his dream come true. Many of you may know that I also disapprove giving up on dreams, but on the other hand, when you have a child then she/he becomes your first priority! Even though, working and raising a child at the same time is possible, I think it is wrong when a child can remember only her father's/mother's back from his/her childhood. In conclusion, I think Shota made the right decision.
Another adorable point of the drama are kids. I really like children and most of the time they like me too, so seeing kids like Pitaro and Hinata was a big pleasure. Pitaro's real name is Emitaro, which literally means "Smiling boy". He got his nickname from Shota, because when he was little he used to cry all the time "pi-pi-pii". Hinata is the Wakaba boss's daughter, who is really great match for Wakaba. She is like a small devil who is spoiled, but at the same time she is missing family feeling. Hinata and Pitaro are best friends and also each other's puppy-loves. Child's honesty is something all grown ups should learn and in drama too, these two eye up the adults.
At first, I thought that Shindo-san is ambitious evil man who only does things when he can gain something from it, but in the end my view of him changed - he is not as bad as he seemed like. Shindo-san shares the some life-goals as Wakaba, which makes him the perfect match for her. Only negative thing is that for both of them they are more like a tool to reach higher or someone who might understand their views, but there isn't a thing like love or caring emotions in their relationship.
At one moment Shota, the solo-dad, turns into real ladies-man as he has 3 different choices - Wakaba - meanie, Ririka - ex-wifey and Soyoko - blindly. Soyoko was the most annoying for me. She hardly knew Shota, but she was so sure that she loves him already. She is naive and really young, which
made it difficult for her to understand the word "NO". To me she seemed like a girl who imagined things in her mind and believed them for truth. Really sweet character is Wakaba's boss Sakuragawa Shoko - intelligent woman who knows what she is doing. Her growth as a mother is one thing that will develop with each episode. Each side character is rather unique and makes the drama more interesting. In a weird way, I really liked the old guy at Ru Sato.
"Zenkai Girl" has strong characters, interesting plot and great developments, but on contrast the love-theme between Wakaba and Shota faded for sometime entirely and then the end came really fast. I was most amazed by Nishikido Ryo, because he had a really great on-screen chemistry with Aragaki Yui, not to mention the kiss-scenes. No wonder why they hit tabloids with dating-scandal. In the end, there is really "nothing-nothing-nothing" between them as Nishikido himself stated. At least we can all enjoy his love-dovey look from "Zenkai Girl".


SPOILER-review: One of the main reasons why drama did not get all stars was the fact that Pitaro went to America with Ririka aka PitaroxShota team was separated. Other thing is that the end seemed a bit too rushed - they did not have to marry right away, though they tried to make the scene extra-romantic these lines seemed too much for me. In every way the last episodes were too full of marriage proposals that I lost the sight - why can't you just date at first and get to know him/her? Remember, everything happened in ONLY 3 months - know each other for 3 years and then come talk to me about marriage. The last thing goes about every character in drama - please do not make the increase of divorce rate possible!

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